Archive for June 23rd, 2019

June 23, 2019

Free Hit Rules should be amended or deleted

Rules of Hockey

Much of the previous post was about penalties but I here want to explore the Conduct of Penalties. 1) The Fee Ball (presently misnamed the Free Hit). 2) The Penalty Corner (a strange name, but never mind) and 3) the Penalty Stroke.

The Shootout is not a penalty but it is a very structured procedure and I will find something to write about it.

The Free Hit back in the days when the term Free Hit (in men’s hockey) was not an obvious misnomer was a relatively short and simple Rule but in 2001 I started to push on Internet Hockey Forums for the introduction of two changes. The reintroduction of the Direct Lift (it had previously been allowed with a flick stroke in women’s hockey as long as the ball was kept below knee height) and the introduction of what I termed the Self Pass. (By that time men;s and women’s Rules had been amalgamated – The men’s Rules were kept and the women’s Rules where they differed, discarded. This was because it was felt that the men would be unable to adapt to any changes made to their Rules.).

Oddly, the easy to assimilate Direct Lift, a change which was an obvious to make safety measure, was not adopted until two years after the Self Pass was adopted. ‘The powers that be then’ proceeded to make a ‘dog’s dinner’ of the Self Pass.

The Self Pass was first introduced into the European Hockey League in 2007 and then adopted into Full FIH Rule in 2009. By which time it had been so hamstrung with addition Rules and five meter limits that it was not much like the improvement to the game I had envisaged. But as a completely new Rule suggested by an ‘outsider’ (who had been living in Cuba, Canada and the USA between 1994 and 2001 – mostly Cuba) this adoption was remarkably quick.

As comparison I can point to have spent ten years trying to get any sort of stick diagram included in the rule-book (first achieved in 2000 and it was awful – see graphic) and have since been trying, without success so far, to have a good clear stick diagram, that explains the permitted limits of dimensions, included in the rule-book: that’s twenty-nine years in total – but the sky has yet to fall.

The amendment to the Free Hit that introduced the Direct Lift is as follows:-

13.2.e  the ball may be raised immediately using a push, flick or scoop but must not be raised intentionally using a hit.

Which leads to “A Free Hit (the start used in all but one of the other Rule clauses, so the FIH RC are obviously aware of the anomaly, but choose to circumvent it rather than resolve it) may be intentionally raised immediately with any stroke except a hit.” which is an obvious nonsense, which is why I suggest the penalty in now misnamed.

(But hey ho, a restart to the attacking team on the 23m line is still called a corner and what Cris Maloney has described as the broken windmill signal is used to indicate the award of it – What’s wrong with a right arm pointing directly towards/over the base-line? That’s very unlikely to get confused with any other signal. I notice a few FIH Umpires, like Christian Blasch, already use this signal to indicate a 23m restart.)

A Rule which used to be set out in less than a page of a smaller rule-book now occupies more than two pages of the larger format. I have highlighted in red the parts I believe should be deleted.

13.2 Procedures for taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the
ball back into play after it has been outside the field:
All parts of this Rule apply as appropriate to a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play after it has been outside the field.

a) the ball must be stationary

b) opponents must be at least 5 metres from the ball
If an opponent is within 5 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or
influencing play,the free hit need not be delayed.

c) when a free hit is awarded to the attack within the 23 metres area, all players other than the player taking the free hit must be at least 5 metres from the ball, except as specifically indicated below for attacking free hits awarded within 5 metres of the circle

d) the ball is moved using a hit, push, flick or scoop

e)  the ball may be raised immediately using a push, flick or scoop but must not be raised intentionally using a hit.

f) from a free hit awarded to the attack within the 23 metres area, the ball must not be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 5metres, not necessarily in a single direction, or has been touched by a player of
the defending team
– that player may play the ball any number of times, but
– the ball must travel at least 5 metres, before
– that player plays the ball into the circle by hitting or pushing the ball again.

Alternatively :

– after a defending player has touched the ball,it can be played into the circle by any other player including the player who took the free hit.

At an attacking free hit awarded within 5 metres of the circle, the ball cannot be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 5 metres or it has been touched by a defending player. If the free hit is taken immediately the defenders who are inside the circle within 5 metres of the free hit may shadow around the inside of the circle a player who takes a self-pass, provided that they do not play or attempt to play the ball or influence play until it has either travelled at least 5 metres or alternatively been touched by a defending player who can legitimately play the ball.If the attacker chooses not to take the free hit immediately, all other players must be at least 5 metres from the ball before the free hit is taken.

Other than as indicated above, any playing of the ball, attempting to play the ball or interference by a defender or an attacker who was not 5 metres
from the ball, should be penalised accordingly.

It is permitted to play the ball high above the attacking circle so that it lands outside the circle subject to Rules related to dangerous play and so
that the ball is not legitimately playable inside or above the circle by another player during its flight.

A suggested rewrite introducing “advantage played” during a self-pass and restoring the moving of the ball to outside the hash circle when a free-ball is awarded to the attacking team within 5 metres of the shooting circle.

13.2 Procedures for taking a free ball, centre pass and putting the
ball back into play after it has been outside the field:
All parts of this Rule apply as appropriate to a free-ball, centre pass and putting the ball back into play after it has been outside the field.

a) the ball must be stationary

b) opponents must be at least 5 metres from the ball
If an opponent is within 5 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free-ball and must not play or attempt to play the ball.

If an opponent who is within 5 metres of the ball is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing play, the taking of the free-ball need not be delayed, but that opposing player must be attempting to get 5 metres from the ball as quickly as he is able. Standing still and demonstrating that no attempt is being made to influence play is not sufficient to comply with this Rule.

d) the ball is moved using a hit, push, flick or scoop

e) A free-ball may be raised immediately using a push, flick or scoop but must not be raised intentionally using a hit.

f) the taker of a free ball may play a pass to himself – take a self pass –  by moving the ball from its stationary position, rather than pass the ball to a team-mate, and can then immediately continue with play.

If this self pass is taken very quickly and a properly retreating defender is ‘caught’ within 5 metres of the ball that defender is no longer obliged to continue to retreat but may immediately seek to challenge the ball holder for the ball.

It is assumed that a self-pass will be taken very rapidly only in order to gain an advantage in space and time for the team of the taker by his doing so. Therefore a quickly taken self-pass, taken before properly retreating opponents have been given opportunity to get five metres from the ball, will be regarded as an advantage played and normal play will resume immediately the ball is moved by the taker – just as it would if all opponents had been 5 metres from the ball at the time the self-pass was taken.

g) when a free-ball is awarded in the area between the shooting circle and the hash circle the ball will be taken back outside the hash circle to a position opposite where the offence occurred and the free-ball taken from there.

It is permitted to play the ball high above the attacking circle so that it lands outside the circle subject to Rules related to dangerous play and so
that the ball is not legitimately playable inside or above the circle by another player during its flight.

 

 

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